Having accomplished so much during his career and done well financially, Demetrious Johnson admits he knows the end of his career is near. As he gears up for an upcoming trilogy against Adriano Moraes in the first-ever U.S. ONE Championship event, the former UFC flyweight champ understands that it’s just the right time to call it a career.
“Being 36, I sit down with the wife and kids, even my close friends, my inner circle who don’t watch mixed martial arts, they don’t train, they all have normal citizen jobs you could say, and sometimes I sit there and wonder, how much more do I want to do?” says Johnson.
Although his health and skillsets are not deterring him from continuing, he believes it’s time for him to start looking for other avenues to generate income and sustain his lifestyle, like relying on something other than MMA to make a living.
Johnson finds inspiration from his peers who have found success away from the cage just like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Henry Cejudo, and Tyron Woodley, all of whom are his generation. Johnson acknowledges that Father Time is undefeated, but he promises that his age is not a significant factor that will determine his retirement after May 5.
Based on his training grounds, he’s more than confident he could keep going for several more years. He just doesn’t see a reason why. Of course, retired fighters rarely stay retired, especially if that competitiveness gets stoked again. That’s not much of a concern for Johnson, however, because he would test himself in grappling competitions. The only way he would likely come back to fighting would be a payday he can’t resist.
Even if Johnson does decide to retire after his third fight against Moraes, chances are he’ll first have that discussion with his wife about retirement – and then he’ll let the rest of the world know. “I think for me to share that moment with the world instead of her, would be [a disservice] to what she’s committed to me in my career,” said Johnson.